Sergei Ivanov

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Sergei Ivanov
Sergei Ivanov, smiling, in red vest.JPG
Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on the Issues of Environmental Activities, Environment and Transport
Assumed office
12 August 2016
PresidentVladimir Putin
Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration
In office
22 December 2011 – 12 August 2016
PresidentDmitry Medvedev
Vladimir Putin
Preceded bySergey Naryshkin
Succeeded byAnton Vaino
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
In office
15 February 2007 – 12 May 2008
Served alongside Dmitry Medvedev
Prime MinisterMikhail Fradkov
Viktor Zubkov
Vladimir Putin
Preceded byDmitry Medvedev
Minister of Defense
In office
28 March 2001 – 15 February 2007
Prime MinisterMikhail Kasyanov
Mikhail Fradkov
Viktor Zubkov
Vladimir Putin
Preceded byIgor Sergeyev
Succeeded byAnatoliy Serdyukov
Secretary of the Security Council
In office
15 November 1999 – 28 March 2001
PresidentVladimir Putin
Preceded byVladimir Putin
Succeeded byVladimir Rushailo
Personal details
Born (1953-01-31) 31 January 1953 (age 66)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
(now Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Spouse(s)Natalia Ivanova
Alma materSaint Petersburg State University
FSB Academy
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
Foreign Intelligence Service
Federal Security Service
Years of service1975–2000
RankColonel General
Meeting between Sergei Ivanov and President of China Xi Jinping, March 2016

Sergei Borisovich Ivanov (Russian: Серге́й Бори́сович Ивано́в, IPA: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej bɐˈrʲisəvʲɪtɕ ɪvɐˈnof]; born 31 January 1953) is a Russian senior official and politician who is the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on the Issues of Environmental Activities, Environment and Transport since 12 August 2016.

Ivanov was Minister of Defense of Russia from March 2001 to February 2007, Deputy Prime Minister from November 2005 to February 2007, and the First Deputy Prime Minister from February 2007 to May 2008. After the election of Dmitry Medvedev as President of Russia, Ivanov was reappointed a Deputy Prime Minister in Vladimir Putin's second government. From December 2011 to August 2016, Ivanov was the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office.[1] Having served in the Soviet KGB and its successor, the Federal Security Service, he holds the rank of colonel general.

Before joining the federal administration in Moscow, Ivanov, a fluent speaker of English, served from the late 1970s in Europe and in Africa as a specialist in law and foreign languages. As an employee of the KGB in the Soviet Union era, Ivanov became a friend of his colleague Vladimir Putin,[2] who appointed him as his Deputy in the late 1990s.

Youth, education, and early career[edit]

Ivanov was born on 31 January 1953 in Leningrad. In 1975, he graduated from the English translation branch of the Department of Philology at Leningrad State University, where he majored in English and Swedish. In the late 1970s Ivanov began a two decades career on the staff of the external intelligence service. In 1976 he completed postgraduate studies in counterintelligence, graduating from Higher Courses of the KGB in Minsk.[citation needed]

Upon graduating in 1976, Ivanov was sent to serve for the Leningrad and Leningrad Oblast KGB Directorate, where he became a friend of Vladimir Putin, then a colleague of his.[2][3][4] In 1981, he studied at Red Banner Institute of KGB.

In the 1980s, Ivanov served as the Second Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki, working directly under the KGB resident Felix Karasev.[5]

Career in Moscow[edit]

In August 1998, Vladimir Putin became head of the FSB, and appointed Ivanov his deputy. As deputy director of the Federal Security Service, Ivanov solidified his reputation in Moscow as a competent analyst in matters of domestic and external security.[6]

Head of the Security Council[edit]

On 15 November 1999, Ivanov was appointed secretary of the Security Council of Russia, an advisory body charged with formulating presidential directives on national security, by Boris Yeltsin. In that position, Ivanov replaced Putin as Yeltsin's national security adviser upon Putin's promotion to the premiership.

As secretary, Ivanov was responsible for coordinating the daily work of the council, led by the president. But Ivanov's role as secretary was initially unclear to media observers. At the time of his appointment, the Security Council was a relatively new institution. (The council was set up by Yeltsin's tutelage in 1991–1992).[7] Between 1992 and Ivanov's appointment in 1999, Yeltsin used the council as political expediency had dictated, but had not allowed it to emerge as a relatively strong and autonomous institution.[7] Ivanov's predecessors in that post, including Putin, according to Western analysts, were either the second most powerful political figure in Russia or the just another functionary lacking close access to the center of state power, depending on their relationship with Yeltsin.[7]

Minister of Defense[edit]

Ivanov was named by Vladimir Putin, who had succeeded Yeltsin as President on 31 December 1999, as Russia's Minister of Defense in March 2001. That month Ivanov stepped down as secretary of the Defense, but remained a member. Ivanov had resigned from military service around a year earlier, and was a civilian while serving as secretary of the Security Council. Ivanov therefore became Russia's first civilian Defense minister.[8] Putin called the personnel changes in Russia's security structures coinciding with Ivanov's appointment as Defense minister "a step toward demilitarizing public life." Putin also stressed Ivanov's responsibility for overseeing military reform as Defense minister.[9]

Unsurprisingly to specialists on Russia, Ivanov became bogged down in the sheer difficulty of his duties as Deputy Prime Minister. But despite bureaucratic inertia and corruption in the military, Ivanov did preside over some changes the form of a shift towards a more professional army. Although Ivanov was not successful in abandoning the draft, he did downsize it.[9]

Ivanov with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at The Pentagon on March 13, 2002.

As Defense Minister, Ivanov worked with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to expand Russian-U.S. cooperation against international terrorist threats to both states.[10]

On May 2001, Ivanov was elected chairman of the Council of Commonwealth of Independent States Defense Ministers.

In October 2003, Sergei Ivanov claimed that Russia did not rule out a pre-emptive military strike anywhere in the world if the national interest demands it.[11]

In 2004, Sergei Ivanov, then acting Defense Minister, pledged state support to the suspects in Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev's assassination detained in Qatar and declared that their imprisonment was illegal.[12] Later Qatari prosecutors concluded that the suspects had received the order to eliminate Zelimkhan Yandarbiev from Sergei Ivanov personally.[13]

In January 2006, Ivanov received criticism for his downplaying response to the public outcry over a particularly brutal hazing incident at a military base in the Urals, which involved Andrey Sychyov as a victim, whose legs and genitals were amputated due to the vicious beatings and abuse.[9][14][15][16]

From time to time Ivanov has disconcerted Western audiences with the bluntness of his remarks on international military and political issues, though his political orientation is moderate and generally liberal on economic issues. In a series of public comments on the 2003–2004 elections, for instance, he unequivocally stated his opposition to rolling back the Western-style economic reforms and privatizations of the 1990s.[9]

On 15 December 2006, in Moscow, Sergei Ivanov said to foreign correspondents about Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned in London in November, which made headlines in the West: "For us, Litvinenko was nothing. We didn't care what he said and what he wrote on his deathbed."[17]

Deputy Prime Minister[edit]

In November 2005, Ivanov was appointed to the post of Deputy Prime Minister in Mikhail Fradkov's Second Cabinet, with added responsibility for the Manufacturing industry and arms exports. On 15 February 2007, Putin elevated Ivanov to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister and relieved him of his duties as Defense Minister;[18] he was appointed as First Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility over defense industry, aerospace industry, nanotechnology and transport. In June 2007 Ivanov was appointed chairman of the Government Council for Nanotechnology.[19]

2008 presidential election[edit]

Because of Putin's popularity with voters, opinion polls and Russian political analysts expected Putin's endorsement to help any preferred candidate in the 2008 Russian presidential election.[citation needed] Speculation intensified in November 2005 with Ivanov's promotion to the rank of Deputy Prime Minister.[9] The speculation further intensified in February 2007 with Ivanov's promotion to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister,[8] but rumours ceased after the United Russia party nominated Ivanov's colleague Dmitry Medvedev to run for the presidency - with Putin's backing. Ivanov expressed his support for Medvedev's candidacy as well.[20]

Russian opinion polls suggested that Ivanov enjoyed wide name-recognition among the Russian public with relatively strong approval ratings.[21][22]

Ivanov's career, in terms of his background and rise through Russia's state structures, was often[quantify] compared to Putin's, fueling speculation that Ivanov might run for president in 2008. Three months younger than Putin, Ivanov had been a student contemporary of Putin's in their hometown of Leningrad where both completed competitive specialized secondary-education programs (Putin in chemistry, Ivanov in English language) before attending Leningrad State University.[23] Both completed postgraduate studies in counterintelligence; and both joined the foreign intelligence service shortly afterward. However, according to Ivanov's recollections, he did not become acquainted with Putin during their time as students, but rather when both were assigned to work in the same foreign-intelligence division in Leningrad.[23]

Chief of Staff[edit]

In December 2011, Ivanov was appointed Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia.[24] He was noted for his hawkish views during the Ukrainian crisis and towards the West and his major role in lobbying for the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[25]

On 12 August 2016, Ivanov relieved from his Chief of Staff position by Putin and replaced by Anton Vaino. Ivanov then became a special envoy for transportation and the environment. Putin's firing of Ivanov was part of a series of replacements of Putin's older peers with young loyalists.[26] The Steele Dossier (Report 2016/111) claims that his encouragement of meddling in the US 2016 Presidential elections, which provoked unanticipated blowback against the Kremlin, was the catalyst for his firing.


On March 20, 2014, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that Ivanov and 19 other Russian oligarchs had been added to the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN).[27][28][29][30][31][32]


Ivanov is fluent in English and Swedish as well as speaking Norwegian, and some French. His hobbies include fishing, and reading detective novels in the original English.[23]

Sergei Ivanov supports CSKA Moscow, he can often be seen at PFC CSKA and PBC CSKA matches.[citation needed]

He married in 1976 and has two children.

On 20 May 2005, a Volkswagen driven by Ivanov's eldest son, Alexander (1977–2014), struck and killed a 68-year-old woman, Svetlana Beridze, on a zebra crossing. Charges against him were, however, dropped.[33] Alexander Ivanov died on 3 November 2014; he drowned in the sea in United Arab Emirates.[34][35]


  1. ^ "Putin dismisses powerful chief of staff". News24. 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  2. ^ a b Иванов, Сергей — Руководитель администрации президента России. (Russian)
  3. ^ Biography Archived February 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian).
  4. ^ Russia Profile – Who's Who? Archived May 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Heikki Hellman: Who remembers 2nd Secretary Ivanov?. 3 April 2007 (archived 2007-06-22)
  6. ^ Aleksei Makarkin, Valeria Sycheva: Putin's Electoral Staff Opens Inside Ministry of Defense. Segodnya, p. 2 Russian Press Digest, 16 November 1999
  7. ^ a b c "ISCIP - Perspective". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  8. ^ a b Finn, Peter. "Russian Leader Expands Powers of a Possible Successor". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ a b c d e "The Russia Index 2006–50 Key Players in Business and Politics" (PDF). p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2006.
  10. ^ "The Avalon Project : Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy". Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  11. ^ Russia bares its military teeth, BBC News, 2 October 2003.
  12. ^ Sergei Ivanov has promised to strive for discharge of the Russian prisoners in Qatar., 3 March 2004 (in Russian).
  13. ^ Sergei Ivanov Tied to the Case of the Russians in Qatar by Mikhail Zygar. Kommersant, 13 April 2004.
  14. ^ Russian Soldier Brutally Hazed Archived May 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine CBS News
  15. ^ "Violent Bullying of Russian Conscripts Exposed". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  16. ^ Hazing Trial Bares Dark Side of Russia's Military, The New York Times, 11 August 2006
  17. ^ Poisoned Spy’s Wife Says He Feared Kremlin’s Long Reach by Alan Cowell, The New York Times, 17 December 2006.
    Sergei Ivanov told about Litvinenko’s "bad reputation",, 16 December 2006 (in Russian).
  18. ^ "Putin Promotes Sergei Ivanov to First Deputy Premier (Update3)". Bloomberg. 15 February 2007.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Ivanov had prior knowledge of Medvedev’s nomination Archived May 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Ivanov Leads, Zubkov Negligible in Russia Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Levada Center poll: 2008 elections Archived 2007-11-30 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  23. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-11. Retrieved 2006-05-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Andrew E. Kramer (December 28, 2011). "Political Promotions in Russia Appear to Belie President's Promise of Reform". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  25. ^ "The urge to purge? Vladimir Putin's powerful right-hand man steps down". The Economist. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  26. ^ Macfarquhar, Neil (12 August 2016). "Putin Dismisses Sergei Ivanov, a Longtime Ally, as Chief of Staff". The New York Times.
  27. ^ "Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members Of The Russian Leadership's Inner Circle, And An Entity For Involvement In The Situation In Ukraine". US Department of the treasury.
  28. ^ "Executive Order - Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine". The White House - Office of the Press Secretary.
  29. ^ "Ukraine-related Designations". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  30. ^ "Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN)". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  31. ^ Shuklin, Peter (March 21, 2014). "Putin's inner circle: who got in a new list of US sanctions". Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  32. ^ President of The United States (March 19, 2016). "Ukraine EO13661" (PDF). Federal Register. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  33. ^ Russian motorists enraged by elite's flashing blue lights by Adrian Blomfield, The Daily Telegraph, 13 February 2006.
    , The St. Petersburg Times, 25 November 2005.[dead link]
    Sergei Ivanov. Biography by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian). Archived February 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ Сын Сергея Иванова погиб в ОАЭ
  35. ^ "Son Of Putin's Chief Of Staff Dies At 37". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 4 April 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Vladimir Putin
Secretary of the Security Council
Succeeded by
Vladimir Rushailo
Preceded by
Igor Sergeyev
Minister of Defense
Succeeded by
Anatoliy Serdyukov
Preceded by
Dmitry Medvedev
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
Served alongside: Dmitry Medvedev
Succeeded by
Igor Shuvalov
Viktor Zubkov
Preceded by
Sergey Naryshkin
Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration
Succeeded by
Anton Vaino